My daughter loves ladybugs. Ladybugs and butterflies. And because ladybugs are easier to catch and more transportable than butterflies, she finds one everyday and carries it around until it dies. Or flies away. Whichever comes first.
Last week she found a yellow ladybug that was injured. Its wing was stuck outside its shell, and it wasn’t moving. At all. Leah said it was sleeping, or possibly sad that it was injured AND separated from its family. I said it was dead. Nicely, I said it nicely and in a very age-appropriate manner. She stood by her diagnosis; the ladybug’s health and vitality were intact.
For nearly an hour she nursed the ladybug, setting it on the table (ew!), whispering into her palm and taking it outside to visit nature. And darn it if she didn’t bring that ladybug back to life. I watched in amazement as it began to limp across the back of her hand.
Rich and I finally convinced her to take the ladybug outside so it could go home and get better. Holding back tears, she agreed, although she stayed in the backyard by its side until bedtime. She came in and informed us, “The ladybug lives in our backyard. She told me so.” And all was well.
Until, that is, my mother-in-law informed me that a 3-year old died after being bitten by a ladybug. Apparently the child was allergic. As worst-case-scenario mom, my first reaction was to freak out and ban all ladybug activity. But then I regained my composure to realize that if Leah was allergic we would have discovered that, oh, 2 years ago. The girl’s immune.
It’s seems, however, that Leah’s affinity for bugs extends to moths as well (but not spiders). Last night Kaleb discovered a moth in his bedroom. As he chased the moth down with a boardbook, intending to, well, squash it like a bug, Leah melted down.
“Moooooom,” she wailed. “Kaleb’s trying to kill a moth!”
“Let me take care of that,” I said, grabbing the boardbook and coaxing the moth onto its cover. And then, too lazy to walk down the stairs and out to the backyard, I flushed the moth down the toilet.
We were halfway through our bedtime story when Leah interrupted. “Mom, did you kill the moth?” Argh. Foiled.
“I flushed it down the toilet, Sweetie,” I said.
Leah’s face contorted and her eyes welled up with tears. “Why would you kill a moth? Moths don’t hurt humans!!!!”
“I’m sorry, Leah,” I said. “Next time we’ll take the moth outside together, okay?”
She tipped her head to the side and looked at me, as if using her supernatural power to detect honesty. Convinced, she smiled. “Okay,” she said. “Next time we’ll save the moth together.”
The Ladybug Whisperer has a convert. I won’t be flushing anymore moths, ladybugs, potato bugs, or butterflies down the toilet. Spiders, however, don’t stand a chance.